MEMORANDUM BY THE WASTE AND RESOURCES
ACTION PROGRAMME (DSW 121)
The purpose of this memorandum is to supplement
the oral evidence given by WRAP's Chairman, Vic Cocker, and its
advisor, David Dougherty on 12 December, and to outline the work
WRAP will undertake in the next few months.
As the Sub-committee is aware, WRAP was not
in existence at the beginning of this enquiry, and so was unable
to submit written evidence before the hearings began.
At the hearing, a number of members raised particular
issues WRAP needed to address, such as the additional support
needed by local authorities. WRAP will follow up these points,
but would welcome any further points members may wish to raise
as these could then be taken into account in the preparation of
the business plan.
WRAP is an embryonic organisation.
As yet, it has no permanent full time staff:
its Chief Executive, Jennie Price, and its Policy Director, Ray
Georgeson both take up their posts on 1 January 2001, and the
remainder of the senior staff team is currently being recruited.
The preparatory work done to date includes:
establishing WRAP as a private sector
putting in place a Chairman and a
consultation with a wide range of
stakeholders on WRAP's priorities
agreeing a method for the production
of a detailed business plan.
This work has been carried out by consultants
working on a part-time basis, assisted by a small team in DETR's
in the waste strategy division.
WHERE WRAP CAN
WRAP has two distinct advantages in helping
to achieve delivery of the Government's targets in the Waste Strategy:
it has national coverage; and
as a private sector body, it can
respond to the business agenda and take a more commercial approach,
whilst adhering to the high ethical standards of the public sector.
WRAP does not yet have a detailed business plan.
The document seen by the Sub-Committee simply sets out the approach
WRAP is taking to prepare it, and explains how people can participate.
WRAP has, however, identified some early priorities, which are
The function and scope of WRAP's work is clearly
set out in the Waste Strategy, and it was on this basis that some
£30m of Government funding has been allocated to WRAP.
A short, but intensive phase of work is now
underway to determine exactly what projects WRAP should undertake
to deliver its key objective of stable and healthy markets for
recycled materials and products.
WRAP will issue a series of working papers,
based in part on the seminars and discussions which have already
been held, describing the work it will undertake, and inviting
concise views on specific issues.
In February 2001 a series of workshops will
be held with small groups of specialists in WRAP's anticipated
areas of activity.
In February 2001 WRAP will issue a draft business
plan for consideration and comment.
In March 2001 a final version of the business
plan will be submitted to the WRAP Board for approval.
The working papers will address such issues
as the waste streams to be tackled, the barriers to greater re-use
and recycling of those materials, and the action items for WRAP.
Prioritisation will be particularly important
if WRAP is to bring about real change, as the issues are complex
and are unlikely to be satisfactorily addressed by a large number
of small, uncoordinated projects. Prioritisation will be a key
issue on which the views of stakeholders will be sought.
The working papers will be sent to all of those
people and organisations who participate in the seminars and discussions
which have already taken place, including key players from the
waste management industry, manufacturing and retail, local government
and the community sector. We will also seek to engage with a wide
range of potential users of recycled materials, and with those
who set standards and prepare specifications for products and
materials. We will also ensure that the consultation process genuinely
reflects the different priorities of those in England, Scotland
Key contributors to this process will be invited
to the workshops in January, and there will be a further opportunity
to comment on the draft business plan which will be issued in
February. A wide range of organisations has already expressed
interest in and a willingness to contribute to WRAP's work.
The purpose of this period of preparation and
To ensure that WRAP knows where it
is going and has plotted a clear route to get there before it
embarks on its main three year programme
To balance the allocation of funds
between competing priorities and sectors
To give all of its major stakeholders
an opportunity to scrutinise and comment on its plans
To ensure that the proper administrative
structure and procedures are in place before it commits to any
While it is developing its business plan, WRAP
will also be initiating work on three projects. These have emerged
from early discussions with stakeholders and experts in the field
as being essential to the creation of stronger markets.
They are: a product standards programme; a web-based
information and advisory service on recycled materials; and a
"buy recycled in business" programme. Further details
are set out below.
1. PRODUCT STANDARDS
One of WRAP's main objectives is to increase
the demand for recycled materials and products.
A major barrier which has already been identified
is the lack of confidence among potential buyers, and a perception
that recycled materials and products are either intrinsically
inferior or of lower quality that those made from virgin materials.
WRAP will tackle this by instituting a Product
Standards Programme to produce recognised and independently verified
standards both for products made from recycled materials and,
where necessary, for recyclates and compost products.
Identify the material streams where
lack of standards is a major barrier, such as plastics and organics.
Undertake a pilot project in at least
one of these areas, either to produce a standard, or to develop
and support an existing standard (compost standards are a strong
candidate for a pilot, and WRAP is already considering an application
for support from the Composting Association).
Work with those industry sectors
already operating in this area, including the trade associations.
Establish a relationship with BSI
and CEN to ensure any standards developed by WRAP have the appropriate
status and verification.
Involve the current and potential
users of the relevant materials in the development of the standards
to ensure the materials and products which meet those standards
will be commercially attractive.
Publicise the existence of the standards
to users and promote their widespread adoption.
2. BUY RECYCLED
Another way in which WRAP can boost demand for
recycled products is to encourage businesses to think creatively
about how they might use recycled products and materials.
This will be particularly effective if industry
leaders are prepared to commit to a "buy recycled" policy,
as this will create a critical mass of demand, and stimulate their
supply chains (and their own staff) to seek out recycled products
and materials and to work with reprocessors to find new applications
WRAP is already talking to Business in the Environment,
which carries out an annual survey of the environmental engagement
in the FTSE top 100, about current levels of recycling. This survey
attracts a high level of participation (over 70 per cent), which
indicates business is actively concerned about its environmental
performance and will be receptive to practical and realistic advice
about sustainable resource use.
Identify a limited number of companies
(say five) in different sectors who are already leaders in sustainable
resource use and recycling, and work with them to understand what
they have done, what has worked and what hasn't, any cost savings
they have made, and any quality and supply issues they have encountered.
Convert that information into a simple
and accessible form for dissemination to other companies in the
relevant sector, perhaps supported by one to one advice and support
for other companies who are prepared to commit to applying some
of the lessons learned in their businesses.
Develop a method of more general
dissemination of this information, including to SMEs, eg through
trade associations, a WRAP Helpline (perhaps shared with Envirowise)
and the Small Business Service.
Identify specific initiatives to
support "Buy Recycled" policies such as facilitating
collective purchasing of recycled content products (particularly
if this would reduce prices to competitive levels) and supporting
trials of recycled content products.
Work with major Government purchasers,
particularly through OGC, to pass on the lessons learned about
successful "Buy Recycled" policies.
WRAP will collate the best practice information
available on recycling and the use of recycled materials and products,
and make it available to all interested parties via a helpline
and a comprehensive, user friendly website. It will also investigate:
Obtaining access to information collected
abroad, including the comprehensive work done in this area by
the Clean Washington Centre
The practicality of a web-based trading
system for recycled materials such as that which exists in the
Netherlands for post consumer white goods and electronic equipment.
The best way to link to other relevant
websites and information sources so that users can find the exact
information they need quickly and easily.
In summary, WRAP will:
Develop a strategy for increasing
recycling within each of the major waste streams
Focus on a limited number of major
activities to deliver early results, such as a product standards
programme and the promotion of recycled products to industry
Comment objectively on Government
policy where, on the basis of its experience and expertise, WRAP
believes changes are necessary to achieve longer-term goals.